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Giardiasis

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(continued)

How is it treated?

Your doctor may prescribe medicine to kill the parasite. Treatment also lowers the chance that you will pass giardia to others. Taking all the medicine is important so the infection does not come back.

In some situations, you may be tested for giardiasis even though you don't have any symptoms. For example, this could happen during an outbreak at a day care center. If tests show that you are infected, doctors recommend that you get treatment even if you don't have symptoms. This is because a small number of people who are not treated get a long-term infection.

If you have diarrhea, try eating small amounts of bland food until you feel better. This gives your bowel a rest. But you need to take frequent sips of clear fluids like rehydration drinks to avoid dehydration. This is especially important for children, because they can become dehydrated quickly.

Some people with giardiasis have temporary trouble digesting milk and milk products. This is called lactase deficiency. If you have this problem, avoid these foods for at least 1 month. Then slowly add them back into your daily meals as your body can handle them.

Can giardiasis be prevented?

There are some things you can do to avoid giardiasis.

  • Don't drink untreated or unpurified water. If you are camping or hiking, boil or purify water from lakes and streams before you drink it.
  • When you travel in high-risk areas, drink bottled water and avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Don't drink beverages containing ice cubes.
  • Wash your hands often to prevent getting giardiasis from an infected person. This is very important not only after you change diapers, use the toilet, or help someone else use the toilet but also before you prepare food.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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